At some point during your studies at PCCC, you will likely need to find some biographical information, information about a person. Whether you need a short biography to bring to class, or several biographical sources to write a term paper, the Library provides several options.
Perhaps the easiest way to get started in finding biographical information is to search the online biographies. This is especially true if all you need is a short biography. The online biographies database the Library subscribes to is Wilson Biographies. Follow this link to access Wilson Biographies in a new browser window, and follow along with this tutorial. If you are off-campus, you will need an ID and Password to access Wilson Biographies. Please contact a Librarian for details.
Once you have logged in to the main Wilson Web page, look toward the middle of the screen on the left. Check off the little box next to Wilson Biographies Plus Illustrated. Then click on the green button in the upper right hand corner of the screen that says Search.
You should now see the Search page of Wilson Biographies. You simply have to type in name of the person you are interested in and click the Search Now button. You may type "first name last name", "last name", or "last name, first name". The order really does not matter. Neither does capitalization. However, you must use correct spelling, or no results will appear. Try the following search as an example. Type john f. kennedy in the text box and click on Search Now.
You should now see the Search Results screen, with 7 records listed. The records will list the name of the person covered in green, and then the date and source of the information. To view a particluar record, you simply have to click on the person's name in green. However, there are a few things you need to know before choosing a biography. First, you must know that the database contains obituaries as well as biographies. Obituaries are very brief accounts of a person's life, published immediately after the person's death. They are not nearly as comprehensive as biographies. For instance, click on record number 3, the 1964 obituary of John F. Kennedy from Current Biography. Note how brief this article is.
The second major thing you need to look out for is the person covered in the article. There may be more than one famous person with the same name. For instance, records 6 and 7 on the list refer to John F. Kennedy Jr.
Finally, after we have narrowed down our list to include biographies (not obituaries) on President John F. Kennedy only, we are left with records 1, 2, 4 and 5. We still need to look at a few details. Note that the biography listed in record 4 was published in 1961, and the biography in record 5 was published in 1950. John F. Kennedy took office in 1961, and died in 1963. Hence, neither of these 2 articles will contain a full account of Kennedy's life. However, both articles are greater in length than articles 1 and 2, so they may contain more information about Kennedy's early life. Articles 1 and 2 were published in 2000 and 1997, respectively, and should contain complete, if not in-depth, accounts of Kennedy's life.
Each Full Record in the database has options for Print, Save, and Email.
If searching the online biographies was unsuccessful, or if you prefer working with print materials, there are several options available for finding biographies in print.
If you are interested in brief biographies, the Library has several collections of biographies in the CT section of the Reference collection. Most notable is the Current Biography yearbook (REF CT100.C8), some volumes of which contain indexes. Other titles of note include Great Lives From History, which contains several subsets within the CT section, Dictionary of Hispanic Biography (REF CT1343.D53 1996), and Notable American Women (REF CT3260).
Biographical collections exist in other sections of the Reference collection in their appropriate subject areas. Examples include Notable Black American Women (REF E185.96.N68 1992) and several collections on U.S. Presidents (REF E176.1). Encyclopedias (REF AE) are also a good source for brief biographies. Follow this link for more information about using encyclopedias.
If the aforementioned sources fail to yield results, or if you need additional sources for an extensive project, try the following. You may wish to search for articles on your person. Follow this link if you need help finding articles. As a last resort, you may wish to search the Internet for information on your person. Follow this link if you need help searching the Internet. Remember, if you are stuck, you can always check the bibliography or references of the sources you already have.